TRIP, SLIP & FALL ACCIDENTS
- Where my rights are concerned, what constitutes a trip/slip and fall accident?
- How do I know if I have a case?
- What should I do if I trip/slip and fall?
- What if I trip/slip and fall on a sidewalk or street?
- When can I not receive damages for a trip/slip and fall accident?
Where my rights are concerned, what constitutes a trip/slip and fall accident?
Many times the cause of a fall is a defect in the floor or stair, causing the person to stumble. These cases come under the heading of premises liability because the owner or operator of a premise is responsible to maintain the grounds in a reasonably safe condition. If the occupier of the land fails to do so, and that failure causes an injury, then the injured person can to sue to recover his or her losses sustained. To win a premises liability case, the injured party must prove either that the defendant created a dangerous condition that led to the accident, or knew or should have known about the danger and failed to correct it after a reasonable period of time.
How do I know if I have a case?
It is important in a trip/slip and fall case for the injured person to be able to describe specifically the cause of the fall. If the victim “trips on his own two feet” he will not be able to recover against the property owner because he will not be able to establish the defect as the cause of the fall.
What should I do if I trip/slip and fall?
Many people who trip/slip and fall are too confused or shocked to take a close look at the surrounding circumstances. However, this is essential to win a case. It is a very good idea for photographs to be taken as soon as possible of the defective condition because circumstances frequently change. When pictures are taken it is very important also for the injured victim to be present when the photographs are taken, if possible. Photographs of the scene should include not only the defect itself, but also surrounding areas, including landmarks, so that the defective area can be located.
What if I trip/slip and fall on a sidewalk or street?
If you are injured on a sidewalk or street owned or maintained by a municipality, special rules apply. Most municipalities (cities, towns, villages) have prior written notice laws. This means that the municipality is not liable for the defective condition in a public street or sidewalk unless the condition was previously reported in writing and the municipality then failed to correct it. Additionally, when making a claim against a municipality it is generally required to give written notice of the claim within ninety (90) days after the accident, following very specific requirements including the date and time of the accident, the manner in which it occurred, the exact location and the nature of the injuries sustained. It is important to have an attorney prepare the notice of claim.
When can I not receive damages for a trip/slip and fall accident?
Comparative negligence is always a major issue in a trip/slip and fall case. Under the law, any negligence on the part of the victim that contributes to the happening of the accident will be determined by the jury and that percentage deducted from the overall damages awarded.
You should always meet the lawyer who will actually handle your case to make sure you feel comfortable in placing this important matter in his hands. Look over Paul Goldstein and Lindsey Goldstein’s biographies and make “The Right and Intelligent Choice”.
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